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So, which are the democratic countries in Europe?

It's probably taken by most that all the countries in Europe are equally democratic. Not so, concludes a survey. Some are more democratic than others.

"Denmark's democracy is in rude health while the political systems of Britain and France have some major shortcomings, according to a new Swiss-German study ranking the quality of democracy in 30 nations. Germany achieves a respectable score but falls short of a top 10 slot.

Germany is more democratic than France, Britain and even Switzerland, according to a study released last week by the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), a research institute funded by the German government.

The 'democracy barometer' measures how well 30 established democracies implement the principles of freedom and equality. Denmark gets top marks, while Britain and France are found wanting, ranking 26th and 27th respectively. Costa Rica came last, just behind South Africa and Poland.

The study spans the years 1995 - 2005. Project leader Wolfgang Merkel of the WZB told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the survey "is designed to go deeper than whether a country holds free and fair elections, but not to go deep into individual governmental policies."

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